Entrees & Small Bites

Chicken Nuggets and Tomato Sauce

Chicken Nuggets

Munch

Craving some chicken nuggets one day and having everything available to make my first batch in the cupboard I set about creating something to fill the hole in my tummy. 

These nuggets are oven backed, and whilst that is great for those health conscious next time I plan to shallow fry these in the pan, as I found them a little dry. But they do satisfy the fast food cravings and are a good deal healthier than store bought varieties.

The Tomato Sauce is easy to make and creates about 250ml so it’s handy to have in the fridge and it’s not loaded with sugar and chemicals so you can treat your little people or its great with sausages and chips too.

 

 

 

Makes a dozen

Nuggets

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour, seasoned with salt and pepper or regular GF Flour
  • 1 cup gf breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • splash of milk
  • 1 large chicken breast about 200g, cut into bite size pieces
  • Baking paper

 Tomato Sauce

  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp corn flour
  • 4 tsp water
  • 1/4 Tsp Red Food Colouring, optional

Preheat Oven at 200 degrees celsius or 390 F.

Line an oven tray with the baking paper.

On small plate cover half with the coconut flour and the other half with the bread crumbs. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and splash of milk.

Lightly cover all of your chicken pieces in flour. Then gently dunk them one at a time in the egg mix. Finally cover each with a good coating of the crumbs. I like to prepare my crumbing this way as you’re not having to constantly wash your hands from build up, just do each layer for all pieces before coating in the next.

Lay the nuggets onto the oven tray with space between. Bake for 25 minutes until cooked through.

Whilst the nuggets are baking make your own fresh tomato sauce.

Pop a little olive oil into your fry pan and cook the eschallots, tomatoes and celery, season with salt and pepper. Once the tomatoes have softened add the tomato paste and cook for two minutes.

Transfer ingredients to a Blender, with the fresh parsley and chicken stock. Whizz til smooth. Pour the sauce back into the fry pan and gently simmer for ten minutes until sauce begins to thicken.

Combine the corn flour and water in a small bowl or cup and pour into the tomato sauce to help thicken it even more. Cook for a further five minutes or until you are happy with the consistency.

As an optional, if you’re trying to fool little people into eating your healthy tomato sauce, add the food colouring. Set sauce aside and allow to cool before serving.

Handy Hint: Instead of baking these, why not pan fry them in a little olive oil? Three to four minutes on each side until cooked through will do the trick.

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Popcorn. Little kitchen explosions for a film noir date.

Munch

I love to make popcorn for a healthy, nutritious and completely moorish snack. I am not a fan of soggy popcorn with too much butter, call me cray cray but I love my popcorn crunchy with just a little salt. And when you make your own on the stove with just a touch of oil you know there is no hidden nasties.

Popcorn is perfect when      you're at Uni and on a budget

The fact that it averages out as less than $3 a kilo and  you only need a handful to make a large bowl, a bag goes a very long way.

It’s high in fibre, so you will feel satisfied longer, low in calories and it has four times the amount of protein to fat if eaten naturally. Plus I did say it was yummy didn’t I?

 

 

 Makes a large bowl (to be exact)

  • 1 Tsp Vegetable oil or just enough to cover the bottom of your saucepan
  • 1 Handful Popcorn kernels or just enough to cover the bottom of your saucepan
  • Sea Salt to season

Pour oil into the sauce pan, add three kernels. Heat covered on a low to medium setting. once the three have popped pour in enough kernels to evenly cover the bottom of the pot. 

Once the popcorn begins to explode sjhoosh the pan around to make sure all of the kernels are being heated evenly. When the kernels are continuously popping remove from heat, shake a bit and pop back down on the stove to gain more heat again. This prevents the kernels from overheating and not popping. Repeat the Sjhoosh a few times whilst cooking. Once the popping slows remove the pot from the heat until popping has finished. Serve with a sprinkle of sea salt.

Note I can’t give exact measurements as every pot size is different, but if you go with the principles of only just covering the base of the pot and Sjhooshing the pot occasionally you’ll never go wrong.

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Spicy Chicken Wings with Sriracha & Honey

Finger licking good!

Munch Munch Munch

For our first USA BBQ I decided to make a combination of local style nibbles along with tried and tested Aussie faves. This was my first attempt at making wings, they’re only gaining popularity in pub culture now back home. This is such an easy and tasty recipe and not too spicy so everyone can enjoy. I got the recipe actually from an Australian site called Taste (original recipe in link) as so many USA sites had deep frying the wings and drowning them in butter and I wanted the more oven roasted/healthier variety. I amended the original recipe as you can see as I prefer to use fresh ingredients where possible (I already had these in my cupboard and didn’t want to rush out to buy powdered versions of).

 

 

 

Makes about 24

  • 1.5 Kg of Chicken Wings (image above, shows half batch)

Initial Coating

  • 2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 1 Brown onion, grated
  • 2 Tsp Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper to season
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil

Basting Sauce

  • 2 Tbs fresh Ginger, grated
  • 1/2 Cup Sriracha sauce
  • 4 Tbs honey

Garnish

  • 1/2 Lime
  • Handful Coriander/Cilantro leaves

Preheat oven to 200 Degrees C or 400 Degrees F.

Line a backing tray with aluminium foil.

Pop the chicken wings in a large bow. In a small bowl combine the ingredients from the Initial Coating list and then pour over the wings. Toss the wings to get a good covering. I did this about two hours ahead of cooking, only because I had heaps to do before people turning up, you don’t need to soak or marinate, but it doesn’t hurt either if you like to get ahead.

Place the wings on the tray face up, try not to crowd and cook in the oven for 20 minutes.

Remove wings after twenty minutes and spoon or baste on the Sriracha mix on the top side, put back into the oven for 20 minutes. After this time, remove the wings, turn them over and baste or coat them with the remaining sauce. Place back in the oven for a further 20 minutes. One the time is up, turn over the wings to their original face up position and cook for another 10 minutes to ensure they’re cooked through.

Remove wings from tray and arrange on platter/board/plate. Squeeze the lime juice over the top and scatter your coriander/cilantro leaves.

Handy Hint: If you only have one tray and it’s too small, just run second batch with the remaining wings as I did. You don’t want the wings too crowded or they’ll just stew in the juices and not get crispy.

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Crumby Calamari

Gluten Free Zesty Calamari

Munch Munch

Sticking to seafood this weekend but don’t feel like scraping scales of the BBQ? Why not prep some Crumby Calamari, it’s inexpensive, healthy (probs not when fried) and very munchy. I lightened the taste with parsley and lemon zest for something a little more zingy. Fast and Easy so great if you’re entertaining a bunch of friends. BTW the pic above shows about half of what I cooked, but then again you can NEVER have enough crumby calamari.

 

Makes about 20

  • 400g fresh calamari rings
  • Salt and pepper, to season
  • 1/2 cup gluten free plain flour, seasoned. Once again I like using Orgran.
  • 2 tbs parsley, finley chopped
  • 1 Egg & Splash of milk for wash, whisked
  • 3/4 cup gluten free crumbs, love the mixed bag from the Lifestyle Bakery
  • 3 lemons, zest only (you can reserve the rest to squeeze over the calamari once cooked if your wish)
  • 300-400 ml vegetable oil (depending on the steepness of your pot/wok)
  • Extra but not necessary: These go down well with a little aioli or seafood dressing if you have it around the house.

Line up three wee bowls for the crumbing factory line.

Bowl 1, add the flour and season with salt and pepper as well as the fresh parsley. In Bowl 2, add the egg wash and finally in Bowl 3, combine the lemon zest and bread crumbs.

Rinse your calamari rings and dry off with paper towel. Flour all of your calamari rings, shaking off the excess. Then, using one hand dunk the calamari ring one at a time into the egg wash bowl then transfer to the crumby bowl. Set aside crumbed calamari whilst you heat your oil.

Heat the oil to around 190 degrees C or 420 degrees F and cook your rings a few at a time ’til golden brown, should take no longer than 45 seconds. Drain on paper towel.

Season your rings with a little salt and drizzle with fresh lemon juice. And serve hot before they cool too much and rubberize. No one likes chewy seafood.

Handy Hint: Use Vegetable Oil or others like Sunflower or Canola. They have a higher burn point then Olive Oil and are better for cooking with.

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Scotch Eggs! Grab your picnic basket Boo-Boo!

Grab your picnic basket Boo-Boo we've got Scotch Eggs

Munch Munch Munch omg Munch

His Lordship recently surprised me with a Scotch Egg something I’d never tried and he loved from the short time he lived as a kid in England. I didn’t want to eat the crummy egg because it clearly wasn’t Gluten Free and my tum would have some serious issues if I ate the whole thing, so to appease him I had a bite. Wow so tasty I couldn’t wait to make a gluten free version so I couldn’t enjoy the combination without nasty side effects. I found an authentic looking recipe on the Gourmet Traveller site that tried to keep it traditional and thought I’d amend the ingredients to make it gluten free without compromising on flavour. I also chose to use pre-made plain pork sausages as I figured the finer consistency would be much easier to work with.

Makes 6

  • 8 eggs, 6 of these to hard boil, 2 to make an egg wash with a splash of milk
  • 1 sml brown onion, or half large, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tbs dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs GF Worcestershire sauce, Spring Gully has one that is inexpensive
  • 1 tsp tobasco
  • 1 tbs thyme
  • 600g pork sausages, original called for minced pork but I was terrified that the mince I bought would be too lumpy and would just fall off when being fried.
  • Approx 1/2 cup GF Plain Four, seasoned with salt and pepper. I used Orgran All Purpose Plain Four, I always use them for any baking.
  • Egg wash
  • Approx 1 cup GF Bread Crumbs, I used Lifestyle Bakery, which was a blend of various flours etc and produced a fantastic crunchy crumb
  • Peanut/Vegetable oil for frying (1 to 2 cups depending on how deep your pan is. I had the eggs covered to about a third and turned whilst they cooked.

In a wee saucepan pop in your eggs and water and bring to the boil. Boil eggs for around ten minutes or so, til you reckon they’re hard boiled then drain and set aside.

Snip the very ends of the sausages off, then using your thumbs and forefingers place them in the middle of the sausage then squeeze the meat out, discard the skins. Your hands will get sticky and slimy – embrace the mess, because you will only get messier later on.

Combine sausage meat in a bowl with the onion, thyme, garlic, mustard, worcestershire sauce and tabasco. Mix well with your hands and put in the fridge til you’re ready.

Set up three small bowls (like Asian rice bowls) for your crumbing factory line, plus an extra saucer. In one bowl per ingredient add the flour, egg wash (just whisk the eggs with a splash of milk), and crumbs. On the saucer add a little more crumbs. I found after dusting and dunking the shape was a little off so I used the saucer to get the shape of the egg back to a nice smoothness.

Peel the eggs and dust in some seasoned flour. Shake off the excess.

In the palm of your hand smooth out approx 1/6 of the pork mix. I created a long rectangle from the base of my left palm towards the edge of my fingers with the mix. I then placed the egg at the finger end, so when I curled my fingers the meat began to blanket the egg. Using my right hand I continued to roll the egg so it was completely covered and mushed the two ends of the meat together to form a Scotch Egg blankie. Seal the tops and bottoms of the egg. Do this for the remaining eggs.

Once all eggs are covered in meat, dust with flour again, dunk into the egg mix and cover with the crumbs. Continue to shape the eggs til you’re happy then refrigerate until you’re ready to cook them.

In your saucepan/fryer or as I used my non-stick electric wok pour in the oil and heat to 180 degrees celsius (I used a meat thermometer, and on my electric wok it was at the 3/4 temperature mark). Note I used the wok because of the steep curve, it meant I could cook the eggs one at a time in a little oil bath and not have to use too much oil and it meant that the eggs weren’t going to stick. Plus it has a lid which meant little splatter.

Using a slotted spoon/spatula gently lower the eggs into the oil (I cooked them one at a time). Cook your eggs for approximately 7 minutes (I used the Timer on my iPhone so I wouldn’t over/undercook and it prevented me from being distracted). Turn them every few minutes with kitchen tongs to ensure even cooking and colouring. Your Eggs will be a lovely golden brown colour and the casing should feel stiff when they’re ready. Remove them using the same slotted spoon/spatula and drain them on paper towel. Pop in the fridge ’til they’re cold and then enjoy!

Gourmet Traveller magazine suggested eating them with a lemon mayonnaise. I didn’t simply because the eggs were amazing on their own. After the success of this recipe I will be making a whole bunch more from this food magazine.

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Tuna & Quina Frittas

Munch Munch

A total experiment that I’ve been thinking about for and while and was so yummy the partner kept picking the fritta bits off the plate before I was able to serve lunch. Moist from the tuna, sweet from the corn and pops of crunch from the quinoa, quick and tasty, not to mention healthy.

 

 

 

Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 425g Tuna in Brine, drained very well,
  • 72g  Corn Kernels, also drained really well
  • 1/4 cup creamed corn
  • 4 Spring Onions, finely sliced
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup GF flour
  • Little canola or vegetable oil for frying fritters
  • 2 tbs Aioli
  • Green Toss Salad to serve with (use a lemon vinaigrette to dress)

Cook Quinoa to packet instructions (Coles have their own brand and it’s not too shabby). Then place in the fridge to cool and dry out for 20 min.

Combine everything except the Oil, Aioli and Salad in a bowl.

Get your hands dirty and make little patties – for this recipe the mix hold better if you make them smaller and flatter (think more hamburger patty rather than rissole).

Pop patties into fridge for at least one hour minimum.

Nows the time to prep your salad.

Heat oil in pan to shallow fry the Fritters. Gently add to pan, they’re a little temperamental so be gentle. Press down with your flipper. Cook until lightly browned and turn over. Be kind to them in the cook process and they’ll reward your tummy.

Remove from pan and drain on paper towel.

Plate up with your favourite green salad combination and drizzle with a little Aioli.

BTW the green bits on top in the photo are Chives. These aren’t necessary to flavour or experience I just wanted to use them up before I had to toss them.

 

Feel free to comment on this post or ask any questions about the recipe!

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